In 2021, SERLC protected one thousand three hundred twenty-one (1,321) acres of rare habitats, farms, forests, and creeks in North Carolina, Georgia and Alabama. This now brings our cumulative total to 34,750 acres of land protected. And we’re looking forward to protecting more land in the future. More farmland was permanently protected, which we consider a patriotic duty to help the stability of food sources and rural communities in the US. Rare habitats and species were also given protection. The Covid situation has focused an even brighter spotlight on how crucial natural and open spaces are for quality of life, as well as food sources and natural communities which may contain future medicinal cures. Of our 140 projects, 23 are in Alabama, 52 in Georgia, 39 in North Carolina, 23 in South Carolina, and 3 in Tennessee. The projects range from the mountains, ridge & valley, piedmont, and sandhills to the coast.
2021 Land Stewardship Awards
With so many great things going on, it was again too hard to choose between two admirable people, so we are honoring both.
Jim is a naturalist extraordinaire and is responsible for saving hundreds of native hemlock trees. It was so wild to see a community come together so strongly and volunteer in such freezing cold weather! At the start, I was wondering what kind of person could rally so many people to turn out. Then Jim shared the naturalist newsletters with me and I understood! For years, one of my dreams has been to help save hemlock trees. It would not have happened without Jim and all of the enthusiastic, dedicated volunteers!
This iconic tree, this important legacy of our mountains has been losing the battle against the invasive hemlock woolly adelgid disease. It has wiped out the majority of hemlock trees that once covered our mountain coves. Birds, wildlife, and streams suffer as a result. Hemlocks have been so greatly lost already in the last number of years, even in most US Forest Service areas. So it is crucial to protect what we can. We are trying to build ‘islands of hope’ to hold open the jaws of extinction while a ‘cure’ is being sought. To see hope like this and good being done, especially in these current times, is wonderful.
Forbes has been quite a force of conservation. We hold a number of conservation easements on land that he manages for his family. //father in law// Rural areas, especially toward the coast, are rapidly developing and the family has protected many acres. This includes all kinds of wetlands, forests, and interesting species. Forbes understands conservation and has remedied any problems we found with a pleasant, steady, and positive demeanor. He appreciates nature and enjoys being in the outdoors. I also appreciate his keen eye, in that he notices so many things in nature that others would likely miss.